Star Wars: The Clone Wars by Karen Traviss (Star Wars)

The raging Clone Wars illuminate dark motives and darker destinies until one question must be answered: Does the end ever justify the means? It's time the Jedi found out.

The Clone Wars is part of a new five-book Star Wars series for adults; based on the Clone Wars movie and TV show. The movie and TV show were aimed at younger fans but the books are for adults and are as such much grittier.

The Clone Wars is, in the main, about Anakin Skywalker, his life as a Jedi and the conflicting emotions and doubts that he constantly suffers. The story only covers a couple of days but there is a lot of action put into those days - The Clone Wars is an action-packed, battle-filled tale full of political intrigue. The Jedi Council, Senator Palpatine and Count Dooku use their forces as pawns in an extremely violent and bloody game of chess. The books opening finds us at Jabba's palace on Tatooine where we are witness to the kidnapping of his son Rotta - this event plays a large part on the following story as the major players manoeuvre to gain maximum advantage. The story follows a linear path with each chapter linked together to create an exciting story told from multiple perspectives.

The most memorable characters are Anakin Skywalker and Rex, the cloned soldier. The author makes a large effort to let us into the thoughts of the cloned soldiers that are led by their Jedi generals. The main advantage that a book has over a film is the way in which it can create fully rounded characters that have a life of their own, an actor will put their own stamp on the character they play but an author will give you all the necessary details and allow the reader to form their own mental pictures. Relationships play a big part in the story, those of Obi-Wan and Anakin, Anakin and Ahsoka and Anakin and Rex drive the narrative of the individual chapters while allowing us insights into the characters feelings. Anakin is struggling to cope with the death of his mother; he is full of anger and hurt and the pull of the dark side is becoming stronger – this book further explains his fall.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is told in the third person narrative and this allows the reader to view the storyline from many separate viewpoints, most notably of Anakin and Rex. The Star Wars universe was described in great and vivid detail with clever use of colours. It was a very good story, full of excitement and intrigue - my favourite moment in the story was when Obi-Wan Kenobi was discussing surrender with the Separatist general Loathsom.

“Yes, I did sit down and talk surrender terms with Loathsom, over a cup of tarine tea. He became most ungentlemanly when he realized it was his surrender we were talking about. Have these people no manners? He didn't even offer me a sweet-sand cookie.
GENERAL KENOBI, explaining his 'surrender'

From: Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Chapter 7.

The reason I liked this so much was that Kenobi was portrayed as a rather humourless, arrogant Jedi and this short introduction to chapter seven showed us a more humane, funny side. Karen Traviss is able to say so much more as an author than a director of a film can, we are privy to the thoughts and feelings of the characters and this does, in particular, allow us to understand the fall of Anakin Skywalker. The book in particular brought life to the clone regiments that fight on the side of Republic and I also learnt a lot more about what Obi-Wan Kenobi was like as a young Jedi. The pace and action of the book is everything you would hope for and expect from a Star Wars novel. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is best read with knowledge of the Star Wars story beforehand - although it can be read as a stand-alone novel, many references may be lost on those new to the universe. I was lucky enough to know the first three Star Wars films pretty much off-by-heart. Although I had seen the latest three movies I found that the book provided a great insight to the pre-story. I would certainly recommend Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It is an action-packed, character-driven adventure that provides a greater understanding of The Clone Wars and the fall of Anakin Skywalker.

The review copy of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was kindly provided by Random House -

7/10 An action-packed, character-driven adventure.

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